May 18, 2006

Mission Accomplished Harper Divides Liberal Party

Tonight, Harper has succeeded in throwing a bomb into the Liberal Party…and we are about to see if it explodes

Votes FOR 149
Votes Against 145

30 Liberals voted in favor of the resolution, allowing it to pass. I was in favor of the resolution. This was a clear booby-trap set up by Harper. Now, 3 parties out of 4 voted against the mission in Afghanistan.

Oh, but Antonio, if they had given us more time to debate and a better picture of what was going on, we would have been in favor. WHAT?

Are some people seriously telling me, they are in favor of helping the Afghan people restore civil society contingent on the fact that we want to discuss this in a committee?

Some people are reading polls. Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe showed a complete lack of leadership by reading polls saying Canadians wanted to hear more about the mission, so they were withdrawing support for it. “We support the mission to Afghanistan but we just voted against it.” We will see how the voters react to that.

Canada’s word used to mean something in the world. It meant something because when we made a commitment we kept it. How can we rail on Harper for reneging on Kyoto and at the same time vote against an international mission we have already committed to?

Michael Ignatieff, Bill Graham, Scott Brison, and the 21 other MPs showed some political principle last night. For Michael Ignatieff, a vote against last night would have been a vote against his entire academic career. Afghanistan’s own history is a textbook case of what happens when the international community cuts and runs from a commitment.

If you aren’t ready to stick it out til the end, don’t go in the first place. The Taliban was armed by the CIA in the 1980s during the Cold War. By leaving once the shooting starts, the message we send to the Afghans is “we will stay as long as its politically viable.” That’s the message we sent the Shia and the Kurds in 1991, and the mass graves are only being unearthed today.

The next time 60 Liberal MPs vote to inflict a society worse than all nightmares can imagine on 31 million people we pledged to help, they should ask themselves what is the right thing to do.

The Liberals must support being in Afghanistan to help the people they made a promise to. MPs get elected to keep promises to their constituents. To Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe and 60 Liberal MPs, if your problem is how we are handling the mission down there, you all have opposition motions, they are all binding as the one last night. (as in not binding) I’m more than certain you would have 24 extra Liberal MPs right behind you as well. Beat Harper at his own game but please, know that above all, it is our duty to be there and keep our promises.

MPs who Voted Yea

Bagnell (Yukon)
Brison (NS)
Cullen (ON)
Cuzner (NS)
Easter (PEI)
Eyking (NS)
Folco (QC)
Graham (ON)
Guarnieri (ON)
Ignatieff (ON)
Lee (ON)
Maloney (ON)
McGuire (PEI)
McKay (ON)
Peterson (ON)
Redman (ON)
Regan (NS)
Rota (ON)
Savage (NS)
Simms (NL)
Thibault (NS)
Tonks (ON)
Wappel (ON)
Zed (NB)

16 Commentaires:

Blogger The Tiger a dit...

Kudos to Graham, Ignatieff, and others from this card-carrying Tory.

This is a debate that your gang is going to have to have before the next election -- suspect it'll be decided by who your next leader is.

5/18/2006 12:38 p.m.  
Blogger MPM a dit...

I do not understand how ANY Liberal, let alone someone who wants to lead the Party and thre country, would vote to extend a military mission on about three days notice with no indication whatsoever of the exit strategy, the objective, the cost, etc.

5/18/2006 1:27 p.m.  
Blogger CfSR a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/18/2006 2:18 p.m.  
Blogger CfSR a dit...

(New! Improved! With fewer typos!)

I support the Canadian role in Afghanistan.

However, I doubt that a debate, with only three days notice, without briefings on the current context and plans for future roles for MPs, could really be called an informed debate.

The Conservatives and the Auditor General have been rightfully critical of the previous government for withholding information about the gun registry from Parliament. Without that information, the Auditor General believes that MPs could not make informed decsions.

Why then does this government think it is acceptable to force decisions on Parliament without providing all of the necessary information?

"Don't do as I said." is becoming the modus operandi for this government.

5/18/2006 2:19 p.m.  
Blogger foottothefire a dit...

"How can we rail on Harper for reneging on Kyoto and at the same time vote against an international mission we have already committed to?"

We took the mission on because of 9/11. Today the objective is American piplines/USA strategic regional power. The mission changed. the vote should change.

We make think Canadian troops are there to bring happy and swell to Afghans but the reality is it's all about USA 'special interests'. I remember the day and the detail of the Soviet arranged assassination of the US Ambassador; this is just the ferris wheel going round one more time. Only now the US has Canada out front and center to make it look good to the world. Harper is gonna cost this country big time over this one.

5/18/2006 2:38 p.m.  
Blogger polarslam a dit...

Good post,

I have been critical of Ignatieff and Brison in the past and have been a Kennedy supporter but yesterday is giving me a lot of time to reconsider becasue Micheal Ignatieff really showed he had what it took to be a leader by standing up in parliment and remaining true to what he belives in.

Shame on all members of the past cabinet that launched this Afghan mission that voted against it last night. Shame on Mr. Dion, Mr. Dryden, Ms. Bennet, and Mr. Volpe. And even more shame on Paul Martin for being to much of a coward to even show up and cast a vote in favour of a mission he himself launched! If any more proof was needed that Paul Martin was the worst leader the Liberal Party has ever had, we got all we needed to see last night.

I'm still leaning towards Mr. Kennedy for a variety of generational and domestic policy issues, but Mr. Ignatieff has impressed me very much and I can easily get behind a Liberal Party that he would lead.

5/18/2006 3:16 p.m.  
Blogger Steve a dit...

We don't need to use Bush style phrases like "cut and run." I agree with you but don't think that's necessary. Its also irrelevant that is not a concern

5/18/2006 3:48 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

At least you will admit to what Ig's stands for, US foreign policy. At least you are being honest now as is he.

Graham, Ignatieff and Brison cannot lead us into the next election against the Conservatives with any credibility.

Certainly not in Quebec which is the most opposed to our current mission in Khandahar.

5/18/2006 6:53 p.m.  
Blogger juicynewf a dit...

Frankly, I'm rather tired of reactionary anti-Americanism substituting for actual policy debate when it comes to matters such as the Afghan mission.

We are not simply cleaning up a mess made by the Americans, nor are we desperately clinging to relevance by riding on the Americans' coat-tails.

We are standing up for a long-victimized people, we are solidifying our committment to the protection & establishment of respect for rights and the rule of law, we are engaging in direct, concrete action where for too long, we have simply spoken in the voice of absentee, high-horse moral authority.

Bravo, Antonio. Excellent post.

5/18/2006 9:45 p.m.  
Blogger Dennis a dit...

Take you head out of the sand. The Liberals were already divided before Harper even set this all up.

5/18/2006 9:50 p.m.  
Blogger polarslam a dit...

Was Martin that dumb and ineffective or is Harper so smart?

As a Liberal I feel better thinking that Paul was just useless in comparisson to the little Machaveli we have in 24 Susex now. I refuse to give Harper too much credit.

5/18/2006 10:18 p.m.  
Blogger The Tiger a dit...

H'm -- this comments section shows there are some real divides among you Liberals.

I'll toss another bomb in -- here's an Ignatieff foreign policy soundbite:

Ignatieff said that Republican foreign policy, focusing on promoting democracy, is better suited to the situation in the Middle East than what he termed the cautious, pragmatic neo-isolationism offered by the Democrats. "The times require real vision in the Middle East," he said.

Good on him for taking the issue seriously.

Will the hawkish wing of the Liberal Party survive? We'll see how Ignatieff's candidacy goes.

5/18/2006 10:54 p.m.  
Blogger decoin a dit...

It is time to acknowledge that the number 1 issue in this leadership campaign is whether the LPC will choose to support U.S. foreign policy (Ignattieff, Brison, Graham) or stand for an independent and enlightened traditional Canadian role in the world as peacekeeper and non-combatant (Pearson, Trudeau, Chretien). Until the shameful performance in the House on the 17th the course to be chosen by the LPC seemed obvious. No longer. The LPC is at a crossroads.

5/18/2006 11:14 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Decoin, I would like to point out that Prime Minister Chretien was the one who sent the troops to Afghanistan...and just as it was the right thing to do then, it is the right thing to do now.

Does anyone remember the LPC just fought an election where our party was committed to this mission? harper set a procedural trap and 8 leadership candidates fell in.

It now appears 8 candidates for the LPC leadership voted to bring the troops home...WHICH THEY DID NOT...but we all saw the news today...we all saw how the media spun it.

I stand by my view, I would have voted for the resolution. I am happy Michael voted for it.

5/18/2006 11:39 p.m.  
Blogger polfilma a dit...

I don't think the Liberals are as "divided" as some people think, at least not the Liberal caucus, and not in the negative way some may suggest. The Liberal MPs have different approaches on how to handle this issue, but I think they all respect the differences.

This article certainly gives an impression of a very healthy Liberal caucus:

Here are some of the quotes from the article:


It took Stephen Harper holding "a gun to their heads" over the risky Afghanistan mission to produce what some Liberal MPs said was the best caucus meeting they've ever attended.

For three hours Wednesday morning, Liberal MPs and senators listened to impassioned arguments on both sides of the debate over the prime minister's motion to extend the mission by two years. "It was riveting," said one caucus member.

Insiders said the discussion ranged over all the possible approaches Liberals could take to the motion: support, oppose, abstain or boycott. Some even suggested Harper might use defeat of the motion as an excuse to call a snap election in hopes of turning his minority government into a majority.

Bill Graham, the acting leader, eventually left it to individual MPs to vote according to their consciences after the six-hour debate later in the day.

Yet despite the obvious split in opinion, insiders said the debate was always thoughtful and respectful. Indeed, all speakers were unanimous in condemning what they saw as "General Harper's" blatant politicization of the issue.

According to caucus members, some of the strongest interventions against the motion came from leadership hopefuls Stephane Dion and Joe Volpe.

According to insiders, the strongest interventions at caucus in favour of the motion came from Quebec MP Raymonde Folco, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Senator Romeo Dallaire.

Dallaire, who formerly commanded the ill-fated UN mission aimed at preventing genocide in Rwanda, argued passionately that the party must support the 2,200 Canadian troops already in Afghanistan, sent there by the previous Liberal government. He maintained that failure to support the extension would be seen as failure to support the troops.

Dallaire urged Liberals not to "blink in the face of adversity," according to one MP.


Ignatieff, Graham and Brison made the right decision, in my opinion.

Let's not forget that the soldiers themselves are in favour of the extension.

Listen to what they have to say:


"The fact that the mission is being extended comes as no surprise because very few, if anybody here, believe that the task would be done by February, 2007."

Warrant Officer Bruno Wissell likened the Afghan mission to Bosnia.

"It's going to be similar to Bosnia, where we were there for 10 years and we had people that were doing two or three tours," he told reporters from Kandahar Thursday.

"Once you get into a mission, you always want to finish what you started."

Sergeant Scott O'Neill also approved the mission's extension, calling it "a no-brainer."


5/19/2006 1:57 a.m.  
Blogger calgarygrit a dit...

In fairness, we have completed our original mission - this was a vote to extend it.

5/20/2006 1:51 p.m.  

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